M.A. in History and M.S. in Library and Information Science

Together with the School of Information Sciences (the iSchool), the history department now offers an interdisciplinary master’s degree program leading to a Master of Arts degree in History and a Master of Science in Library and Information Science. The joint degree program matches expertise in historical research and writing with professional education, and prepares students for professional careers in archives, libraries, museums, historical societies, corporations, and government agencies. The joint degree requires 56 total credit hours (most graduate courses are 4 credit hours) divided between courses for History and LIS (28 course hours in each program; no more than 12 hours can double count).  Students will use the MA/MSLIS degree checklist as they progress through this program to track their requirements progress.  All requirements for History need to be completed on campus;  History does not currently offer graduate online courses.

Application and admission

Applications for admission are to be submitted electronically using the Graduate College online application system (Slate). Please note that as the program is new and the on-line application system even newer, if you have problems and questions, don't hesitate to write to the Graduate Secretary, Shannon Croft (shannon9@illinois.edu).

New applicants are required to submit two online graduate applications through the Graduate College online portal and must be admitted by both programs--but please indicate that you are applying to the joint program on the "proposed program of study" page and in your statement of purpose. 

You only need to pay one application fee.  When submitting your second application, please indicate "Joint Program 2nd Application" in the Allied Agency field in the Application Fee Waiver section on the program page.

Current iSchool graduate students should also apply through the Graduate College admissions portal, indicating you are applying to the joint program.

Required application materials for admission to the MA in History, for both current iSchool and new students, are the same as for the PhD program can be found here.

Fall 2025 admission deadline: December 15, 2024 5:00 PM (CST).  The History Department has fall admissions only.

History Requirements (graduate online courses are not offered):

HISTORY (28 credit hours):

HIST 593: Approaches and Methods in History (Fall semester of your first year--4 credit hours)

HIST 594: Introduction to Historical Writing (Spring semester of your first year--4 credit hours)

At least two History courses in one of the graduate fields of specialization established by the department or a constructed field approved by the department:  4 credits of which must be at the 500-level and 4 credits of which must be taken as a "research seminar," which consists of original research and writing based on primary sources, a requirement that can be satisfied in any course (with the instructor’s agreement) or in History 596 (individual directed research). This research seminar is in addition to History 594.

Elective course work in history should be selected in consultation with an advisor who is a member of the History Department. These may include approved coursework in related disciplines, courses on topics of interest and relevance to you, and, if you wish to write a Master's thesis (which is optional) up to 8 hours of HIST 599.

Language Requirement:

Proficiency can be demonstrated in one of the four ways:

  • passing an appropriate graduate reading course or sequence of undergraduate courses  (through intermediate level) with a grade of B or better
  • passing a departmental exam administered each September and February: analysis and paraphrase of an article or excerpt for modern languages, of a primary source for premodern languages
  • evidence of proficiency as approved by the advisor in consultation with the DGS
  • native fluency.

Information Science requirements: (28 credit hours) -- to verify, please contact Professor Emily Knox, Director for Graduate Studies:  ischool-acadaffairs@illinois.edu.

IS 505: Information Organization and Access

IS 510: Libraries, Information, and Society

Elective IS courses, selected in consultation with an LIS advisor. Electives may include:
- IS 549 Practicum (2 hours, satisfactory/unsatisfactory)
- IS 589 Independent Study (up to 4 hours)

- Students in the joint degree must be registered in each program for at least one semester.

- Students must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.25.

Financial support: Although the History Department is not currently able to offer employment or fellowships to MA students, there are many opportunities for employment on campus, including in the library through the iSchool. Most appointments include tuition and partial fee waivers, including when students in this joint program are registered in History (when the waiver is covered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences).

For more information, contact the Directors of Graduate Studies in each program. For History: Bob Morrissey at (rmorriss@illinois.edu); for the iSchool:  Professor Emily Knox (ischool-acadaffairs@illinois.edu).